Free For All

What some call the "People's Republic of Boulder" has long been a hotbed of serious political discussion. So when many of the best and brightest minds from around the globe gather there this week for the 55th Annual Conference on World Affairs, ideological debates are sure to reach fever pitch.

"There is no doubt that interest this year is going to be even larger than usual due to current events," says conference spokesman Ramsay Thurber. "But this isn't only about oil or tensions in the Middle East. There are lots of topics that transcend the war -- everything from a series on the issues facing Generation Y to Palestinian and Israeli storytellers to discussions on life beyond earth and global finance."

Under the banner of "The Power of an Idea," this year's conference will feature more than 120 speakers, including Patch Adams, Sonya Hamlin, Molly Ivins, Daniel Ellsberg and Roger Ebert. The 200-plus lectures, panel discussions and performances will be held at a variety of locations on the CU-Boulder campus from Monday, April 7, through Friday, April 11; all events are free.

"It's a very far-reaching institution," says Thurber of the confab, which is expected to attract more than 40,000 attendees. "It's one of Colorado's diamonds. It just doesn't exist anywhere else." For a complete schedule of events and participants, visit

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn